“Are you there, God? It’s me, Mad Men.”
Lord help me, I love a diorama. Can you tell I grew up in Utah? Besides, I couldn’t open with a shot of bloody panties now could I? But let’s face it, that was one of the more amazing moments of this episode. But like always on Mad Men, big things come in small unexpected moments. I think sometimes about the way this show would have been promoted in TV Guide had it actually aired in 1967: “Lane is fired; Sally gets her period.”
Now it wasn’t exactly a December 7th style surprise watching this scene with Lane and Don unfold, and Tom and Lorenzo have been insisting from the beginning of this season that someone was going to die. But I love how simply and elegantly this episode was written. Understated! That husband and wife writing team Andre and Maria Jacquemetton sure do know how to give everyone a full character in a handful of lines, and the goods were dumped out lovingly in this one.
Pour some sugar on me (with another Sally-centric episode)! Being a grown up means grown up responsibilities, like drinking coffee, not losing little girls in the big city or not forging checks. Grown ups have to make tough decisions, especially when they are the only grown up in the room and their wives buy crappy cars they can’t afford. Whee!
Both Lane and Sally ended up finding out that being grown up is too much of a burden and dealt with it in their own way. Lane chose to take his party elsewhere (permanently) and Sally put it in reverse and ran home to her mother like a little girl.
This was the best mother-daughter interaction these two have had since Betty caught Sally smoking and locked her in the closet. Betty is one tough mother but she has a mushy emotional core. This scene made it so clear how much Betty sees herself in Sally and why their relationship is so complex. Their struggle is eternal, handed down from generation to generation, but so is their bond.
There is a reason Matthew Weiner has insisted on such nonsensical promos that give nothing away. Because if you said, “On the next Mad Men, Sally gets her period,” you might not get any viewers at all. How can anyone think that’s a good reason to tune in, and yet it made for the best episode this season.
And that’s why Mad Men is the best show on television. Period.